Afghanistan no surprise for New Zealand coach

Auckland, Mar 2: New Zealand coach Mike Hesson insisted today that the high-flying Black Caps will pay Afghanistan the utmost respect having tracked the Asian minnows' astonishing progress at close range.

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Hesson briefly coached Kenya in 2011 and 2012 with the African side coming up against the Afghans in second-tier events. The 40-year-old will renew his rivalry with them in the World Cup in Napier on Sunday.

Afghanistan no surprise for New Zealand coach

"They have three guys who bowl over 140km/h and they can swing it," he said of quicks Shapoor Zadran, Dawlat Zadran and Hamid Hassan.

"Generally, their batsmen don't die wondering. It should be a good contest. We have to show them due respect and make sure we put in a good performance."

New Zealand have won all four games in Pool A and have already secured their spot in the quarter-finals while Afghanistan can still gate-crash the last-eight, standing just a point behind Australia after losing to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka before edging Scotland by one wicket.

Their next challenge is taking on four-time champions Australia in Perth on Wednesday.

"We'll do our scouting on Afghanistan and we'll prepare the best we can. We've still got a lot to achieve in the next few weeks," said Hesson, whose team secured their quarter-final spot on Saturday with a nail-biting one-wicket win over Australia in Auckland.


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